To be honest, Bangalore is a destination for high stake businesses or simply a point of transfer on most travelers’ list. The city however is not at all short of fascinating sights and bright cultural life. Whether you are there for business or just on a short stopover try to squeeze a day in your schedule, book a driver and explore the less traveled parts of this seemingly crazy place.
This day will be super intensive so rather start-off early with a filling breakfast and a strong chai. Take a few Dosas (crepe made of rice batter and lentils) or Idlis (steamed rice ‘cake’) with spicy coconut chutney. It’s nearly impossible to find eateries without these South Indian basics.
Healthy and hearty – Idli and Vada
Make your way to the harmonically painted, Gothic style St. Mary’s Basilica, the oldest church in Bangalore. Admire the captivating stained glass windows, the unique architecture, and the fresh colors. If you happen to be there in the month of September, watch out for the celebrations of St. Mary’s Feast.
Minor basilica charm – St. Mary’s Basilica, Bangalore
Just a few hundred meters from the Basilica, at the end of Meenakshi Kovil street stands the eye-catching Sri Dandu Mariamman Temple. Ask if you can join the morning Puja and see how Hindu deities are worshiped. It’s a really moving experience without a single tourist around.
Soak in Hinduism – Sri Dandu Mariamman Temple, Bangalore
After a 30 to 40 mins drive you will lay your eyes on the fairy-tale like Bangalore Palace. Owned by the Maharaja of Mysore back in the days in the XIX. century, the palace is now in the hands of the Mysore royal family. An audio guide will walk you through the rooms filled with hunting trophies, royal family photos, nude portraits and lots of history. Devote at least an hour. You have to make a little detour for this as it opens at 10am only.
No Windsor Castle replica – Bangalore Palace
If you want to learn how Hindus pray, who their gods are and what the meaning is behind their spiritual acts visit the well tucked-away Shiva Temple behind Kemp Fort mall(!). It all started with a person called RVM having a vision of a huge Shiva statue. He did not have sufficient funds to create one at the time, but slowly things started to fall in place and his faith finally led him achieve his dream so works could start in 1994. The Temple was inaugurated a year later with a 65-foot tall statue of Lord Shiva attracting devotees from India and all over the world. Buy the ticket at the entrance, which is valid for each step of the worship. The place has a new mystic feeling you will experience throughout your stay, you might find it a bit too new-fangled but just keep going on your path of getting acquainted with this colourful religion. You will learn how to chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, how to share your problems with Ganesha and how to wash your sins away with the help of Shiva. The temple is open 24/7.
Clean your mind from negative thoughts 108 times – Shiva Temple, Bangalore
City noise falls silent once you make a stopover at the green heart of Bangalore, the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. Housing a good collection of tropical plants, it takes some hours to completely walk around the area so for now just fast-recharge your batteries, breathe some fresh(er) air in and hop back to the vehicle as there is still a lot ahead for the day.
Something clean and neat – Lalbagh Botanical Gardens, Bangalore
Go on to see where Mysorean Tipu Sultan escaped from torrid Indian sun to Bangalore’s more chilling altitude by visiting his Indo-Islamic summer palace built of teak wood adding pillars and arches for a once complete beauty, which admittedly faded with time. It is still worth a 15 mins stopover though on the way to your next big thing.
Outline – Tipu Sultan’s summer palace, Bangalore
Look at the giant Nandi statue in Bull Temple, a place popular for local weddings and vehicle blessings. The area with the nearby Ganapati Temple and the famous Bugle Rock Park built around some astonishing 3000 million years old rock is very much surreal especially during November’s Groundnut Fair where crowd and noise and smells and colors are living up to the definition of maddening.
Nandi not like everyday – Bull Temple, Bangalore
Groundnut anyone? – annual Groundnut Fair, Bangalore
Before the sun completely disappears from the sky get your last blessings for the day in one of the world’s largest ISKCON Temples. Inaugurated in 1997 to promote Vedic culture and spiritual learning you again experience a different religious side of Bangalore in this enormous contemporary complex. With your special ticket acquired at the entrance you will be involved in all parts of the ceremony while learning about the Supreme Being of Krishna. An hour or even more is required here.
Old and new, traditional and contemporary spiced with some inseparable commercialism you can learn a lot about holy India, religions, gods, architecture, maharajas and beyond squeezed in a day only. However there is even more on offer when it comes to Bangalore’s cultural life so tune in for the next fun-filled day in the garden city of the South.
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